Last season, the Dallas Stars just missed out on the playoffs by a just a few points for the fourth time in as many seasons. A few more wins, or at least a few more games that went past the 60 minutes, could have changed that. One of the main reasons for the Stars missing the playoffs was their atrocious record in the second game of back-to-back sets. Last season, the Stars went 1-11-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets, getting only four of a possible 28 points. Nobody is expected to win every set in this situation, but had the Stars won only three more games, they would have made the playoffs.
So far, the Stars have played in five back-to-back sets, gaining only one win against four losses. One thing is for certain, if the Dallas Stars wish to return to the playoffs, they need to find a way to get points out of the vaunted second game. They will have a chance to do that tonight, as the Stars made the short trip from Edmonton to take on the Calgary Flames.
Calgary has had a rough start to the season, going 6-9-3 while giving up 64 goals against, second worse in the Western Conference, and third worst in the NHL. The Flames have struggled of late, especially at home, losing three consecutive games and 10 of their last 13.
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen was spectacular last night against the Edmonton Oilers, making several highlight reel saves, including an incredible glove save on Jordan Eberle, and finished with 22 saves. The Stars struggled in net during Lehtonen’s absence and it appears that he might get the call in net again tonight.
The old saying is that your best players need to play their best applies here. This team is no longer the team of Brendan Morrow, Steve Ott and Mike Riebero. This team now belongs to Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Lehtonen. So far, even with new players, new coaches and new uniforms, the Stars have achieved similar results on the back end of back-to-back games as the old squad. If this new group wants to get back to the playoffs, they need to find a way to get not just points, but wins out of the dreaded second game of back-to-back sets.
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